Overview of the UN system

The UN is a multilateral organisation set up in 1945, in succession to the League of Nations, to promote international peace, security, and cooperation.

Over the years, the United Nations Organisation has evolved into a wide network of organisations and specialised agencies with different mandates and areas of intervention, reporting to the 5 principal active organs of the system.

This image show simplified version of the UN system with some of its organisations and main reporting lines:

How the UN works

The UN's operations are funded by contributions from 193 member states. These are represented in the General Assembly, the Security Council and the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), where the mandate of each organisation is defined.

Nearly 65,000 UN employees, including around 16,000 in the Secretariat alone, work on these mandates, either based in headquarters in New York, Geneva, Nairobi or others, or in the field.

Focus areas

UN organisations and specialised agencies aim to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030:

This variety of fields offers exciting and challenging employment opportunities for qualified professionals with diverse backgrounds, skills and aspirations. > Why work for the UN?

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